Cleveland Launcher FL Ultralite Fairway Wood

I’m looking for distance. I know it’s out there, but sometimes it can be hard to find. I’d venture to guess that plenty of you feel the same way. I’m sure some of you found it a long time ago, but I know you still wonder if there’s a little more out there. With technological limits on golf clubs, a few extra yards can be hard to come by. It seems that one of the latest trends is for golf clubs to be longer, lighter, and faster. It seems like a pretty obvious answer, but manufacturers have to be very careful with this technology. If not, we start talking about how we are lacking balance, control and accuracy. Cleveland Golf has tackled this challenge with a new line of fairway woods, The FL Ultralite series. The question is how did they do when it comes to this delicate balancing act?

Technology Info from Cleveland

  • The FL series fairway wood represents a true breakthrough in fairway wood performance. Cleveland Golf engineers worked closely with two trusted brands – Miyazaki Premium Golf Shafts and Lamkin Grips – to remove weight from the shaft and grip, reducing total club weight by 30 grams. The lighter but balanced club produces faster head speed, more ball speed and longer carry for all shots, from the tee or the fairway.
  • Ultralite Technology – Lighter is faster. An increase in clubhead speed up to 3mph is expected due to the decreased club weight, producing measurably longer ball flight (up to 7-10 yards).
  • Effortless Distance powered by Miyazaki – The authentic 43 Series C. Kua ultra premium shafts preserves stability and feel in a True Tour Ultralite package.

Initial Thoughts
Simply stated, the Ultralite was a pretty striking club the first time that I picked it up. The first thing I noticed was the bright gold Miyazaki C. Kua shaft. It’s quite hard to miss with the bold color and artwork on the side. The grip, a 36g Lamkin Superlite, felt good to me. I’m usually pretty receptive to stock grips and this one seemed to have all the tackiness that I need. Definitely not something I’d run to the store to change, but I know that grips can be a personal thing. Before doing any grip changing, I’d definitely give this one a shot. If you must change it, you may want to seek the advice of a club fitter so you don’t mess up the swing weight of the club. From address, the head is pretty traditional looking and from the front it appears to have a low profile with a fairly shallow face. The sole is mostly chromed out with a bit of black accent and the Cleveland logo is emblazoned in the center. In all, the club is very nice looking. The weight of the Ultralite is sort of an enigma. At first, I picked it up and barely noticed how light it was. It’s very well balanced and the swing weight makes it feel like any other club. I did notice the weight difference when I picked it up after swinging irons for awhile.

Golf Lite
Over the course of my testing, I never once thought to myself that this club was too light, or that the weight negatively affected my golf swing. In fact, I felt that it was extremely stable and contributed to a faster swing without sacrificing accuracy. Initially, the only thing that I really noticed was the shaft felt long. Really long. Some of that is because it is, well… long. The Ultralite is matched with 43 inches of Miyazaki power, which is the shaft length that I am used to playing in my 3W. The other reason that the club seemed long to me is that I normally play a hybrid in the 18°-19° spot in my bag. Fairway woods are naturally longer, so this was a bit of an adjustment for me. For those of you more familiar with fairway woods, I doubt that the length will be much of an issue at all.

Right now, aside from my driver, I don’t know that there is a club in my bag that I hit farther than the Ultralite. That’s saying a lot since it’s a 5 wood. Well struck shots absolutely rocket off of the club face. The sound of good shots is a resonating sound that is a little tinny. Don’t take that as a bad adjective either. It’s just the best one I could come up with. It’s not the muted crack of some fairways or the ‘ting’ sound of others. It sort of resides in the middle and I liked it. I was getting a medium trajectory ball flight from the Ultralite, starting out low and climbing. I let a friend of mine try it out and his ball flight was high and piercing, so depending on your swing tendencies and abilities you could see either. I found the club sufficiently easy to hit off of the ground as well as off the tee. The Ultralite has me pondering my bag in a new way. I’ve always thought I needed a 3 wood, but never had much luck being consistent with one. The Ultralite 5W could take that spot in my bag. Unconventional? Sure. A better way to build the bag? For my game, maybe so. I think that the added loft (19°) in addition to the shaft length and weight work well together. For those of you that love 3 woods, a friend of mine found that the 13° Ultralite was a strong competitor against his driver. Definitely some food for thought.

Final Thoughts
I may never be a long hitter and I’m not really too concerned about that. Once or twice, I’d love to go for a par 5 in two, but it’s probably just not in the cards for me. However, I think there is some help out there for the distance-challenged golfer and Cleveland is definitely leading the way. I don’t need 300 yards, but I could use an extra 5 or 10 here and there. The Ultralite definitely delivers on distance without sacrificing all those other tangibles that we desire. I’d recommend taking one for a test drive at your nearest golf shop to see how it works for you. You can also find them online reatilers such as Blind9golf.com. There are quite a few loft choices available to fit most golfers’ needs. For more info, check out Cleveland Golf’s website at www.clevelandgolf.com. Thanks for reading and I wish you the best of luck out on the course this year.

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Ryan Hawk
Editor and writer Ryan Hawk lives in northwestern Illinois with his fiance and son. He's been a writer for The Hackers Paradise for two years and has been involved with a number of THP events.
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